National bowling tour making a return to Capital Region


PWBA schedules tournament for June in South Glens Falls

A 15½-year hiatus without a national bowling event in the Capital Region will come to an end next summer.

The Professional Women’s Bowlng Association released its 2021 schedule Tuesday, and included is the “Albany Open,” set for June 3-5 at Kingpin’s Alley in South Glens Falls.

It will be the area’s first national tournament since the Empire State Classic, a PBA Tour event held Dec. 15-18, 2005, at Spare Time-Clifton Park.

The PWBA has not had a local stop since June 20-23, 2002, when the tour — under different management — opened its schedule at the now-defunct Bowlers Club in Latham. Leanne Barrette of Pleasanton, Calif., won the title, beating Wendy Macpherson of Henderson, Nev., in the final.

“It’s something this area needs and deserves,” Kingpin’s Alley owner Doug Bohannon said. “Bowling is still big in our area.”

No details beyond the date and host center have been announced. “We don’t have the pro-am or anything like that scheduled yet,” Bohannon said.

The 2021 PWBA schedule has 20 tournaments, its highest total since 2001. The tour was dormant between 2004 and 2014 until funding from the U.S. Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors Association of America revived it.


TIMES UNION PHOTO WILL WALDRON–Leanne Barrette, left, recives a $10,000 winners check from Bowlers Club owner——, in Latham. Barrette beat Wendy Macpherson to take the event. Sunday June 23, 2002.

Among the current tour regulars is Rotterdam resident Liz Kuhlkin, who has two PWBA titles, including the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open.

“Doug runs a great center, holds a lot of local tournaments there,” Kuhlkin said. “It’s going to be awesome to see that at the national level. It gives me a chance to showcase the Capital Region bowling to the PWBA players when they come here.”

The tour will be in Farmingdale the week before Albany and head to Smyrna, Tenn., the week following.

Organizers hope that COVID-19 restrictions won’t be an issue by next summer.

“We’re planning right now that things will be back to the way it used to be,” Bohannon said. “Then we’ll be able to have a full complement of spectators and everything like that.”

“I’m very excited,” Kuhlkin said, “but at the same time I’m trying to stay realistic. We’re still not out of the water with COVID. I hate to bring that up, but you have to still think about it and hope the next couple of months go as planned and we’re able to see this all happen.”

The Capital Region formerly was a regular stopping place for the national tours. The first PBA tournament was held May 22-24, 1959, at Schade’s Academy in Albany, the first of six stops in the early years.

Between 1996 and 2005, the PBA, the PBA Senior (now PBA50) and the PWBA combined for 12 area tournaments — eight at Bowlers Club and four at Clifton Park.

Most of the centers in the Capital Region large enough to hold a national event have either closed or reduced capacity over the past 15 years. Kingpin’s Alley has 40 lanes.

“We used to have the PBA regional and national stuff all the time,” Bohannon said. “I even worked them when they were at Clifton Park and Latham. We were supposed to host a (PWBA) stop this year, but that got all discombobulated because of COVID and everything. So they offered me 2021 instead.”

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